During my time in Thailand I try to get to know as many different people as possible. It’s always interesting to say the least. This time however it’s far more. In order to show more of the talented people that call Bangkok (or Thailand) their home I added the music & arts section to my-thai.org. Today’s interview guest is the first band that sat down with me. I saw them first on youtube was immediately captivated by their enthusiasm and by the fact that they are, and that’s a good thing, different. They are doing cover songs as well as own renditions and arrangements. Besides having a very girly name this band is not at all a ‘normal’ girl band. Actually they do kick ass with their Vocals, Guitar, Drums, Keyboard and Violin. So ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, children of all ages I’m proud to present: Pretty Please.
Before we start things off let’s check who is Pretty Please and who is behind Pretty Please. So girls, could you introduce yourself a bit to our readers?
Alright. Sure. So first let us introduce the band members. We have Toey who plays the guitar, Toey number two at the vocals, Mint at the violin, Ploy at the keyboard and Pakbung on the drums.
We are all from Bangkok and besides making music we all have a ‘real’ life. We are not full-time musicians here in this band. We can’t do that for a living. However we all have side projects where we also play.
I (Toey, Guitar), for example, am a backup guitarist at a music talent show on TV. Besides that I write Thai history books for children and try to find as much time as possible to play with this band here – since that’s the band I like the most :-)
Then we have the latest member to join this band a few months ago. Pakbung: I study architecture at Thammasat University. I’m in my third year right now and play the drums here and with other projects.
Furthermore there is me, the other Toey. I study Communication Arts at Stamford International University and also work as vocal instructor at Rockademy – a music school in Bangkok. I play bass and am the singer in the band.
We move over to Ploy: My name is Ploy and I’m the keyboardist of this band. I just graduated from the College of Music at Mahidol University. By now I also wrote a book about how to play keyboard furthermore I also teach piano and run my own music school.
Last but not least: My name is Mint. I’m the violinist of this band. I graduated at Faculty of Fine Arts at Srinakharinwirot University. Moreover I am the owner of this place where we sit right now: One Ounce For Onion. I play part-time here in this band.
Thank you for that short introduction. Already nice to know a bit about you. So far we can see that you are all from different Universities and backgrounds. So how did you actually meet?
We met three years ago. However it was a bit complicated. The original band consisted of six members. Two of them however left the band already. When the first three members of the and decided to set up the band they were looking for more musicians and invited more musicians to join. But this formation now exists for around two years.
Oh alright. So quite a lot of history already! But the one thing that you have in common is that you are all from Bangkok, as we already know. Do you like it here?
Well. Kind of (Toey, Singer). The traffic is really really terrible. I hate it so much. And it actually affects the band and our performances. (Mint, Toey) We live far away from each other so it’s very hard to find a place to meet and practice. It’s really annoying.
Is there any other place that you’d rather be?
I’ve been to Khon Kaen (Toey, vocals) a few weeks ago. I liked that. Slow life, quiet, relaxed. It might be a bit boring but it’s nice to chill and do nothing.
Well I do like Chiang Mai (Toey, guitar) a lot. It’s also quiet, fresher air, nice people. Nice place.
Alright. But you still decide to stay here. Why is that?
Well we were all born here and our families are here. Furthermore a lot of artists and musicians live here so there are lots of sources of inspiration here in Bangkok.
Makes sense. Where do you usually go to get inspiration?
Usually we go to see concerts. We don’t necessarily hang out at certain venues but rather see international artists perform. That’s cool to see and you get more ideas and inspiration since they bring something different to the stage.
Understand. Let’s talk a bit about how you decide on what you bring to the stage. How does it look like when you are creating an own song? Who is doing that?
(everybody points at Toey, singer)
Aha ;-) So you’re doing it? Is it easy to make the rest of the band agree to a song? Or are they very picky?
(Toey laughs) Well I do the lyrics and Toey (the other one) then does the arrangement. In terms of agreeing to songs: It’s quite easy actually ;-) They agree easily on suggestions since we’re always happy to try new songs.
Cool. No fights about the songwriting within the band then :-) Who decides on the cover songs that you are doing?
That’s again Toey usually. She simply listens to the most amount of music compared to all of us. So she chooses a few songs and then we can pick from her choices ;-)
That’s a great way of democracy ;-)
With the cover songs it’s not quite easy though. Since we have the violin in our band we can’t just play any song. Some songs don’t make sense with a violin so we have to choose carefully.
What do you rather play? Sad songs or happy songs?
Sad songs are way better to write and to perform. Actually we started back then with pop music and we played a lot of optimistic and happy songs. But, well, we are more pessimistic now ;-)
But seriously sad songs are simply easier to rely to and to understand. They are more emotional.
So I assume the songs that you write by yourself are also more sad then?
Sure. Life just is not that easy! ;-) You just can’t be happy all the time and that’s when you write the best songs.
Are they really sad songs or typical Thai tragedy & drama songs?
Oh god no. They are nothing like those songs. No tragedy and drama. Thai songs, if they are not very good, are very often very bad (drama wise). We try to be not that tragic :-)
That’s cool! So then without any tragedies. What are the plans for the near future?
Well actually we just decided to discontinue this band.
Oh….?!? Hm. How come?
Well we all have so many things to do right now. We all have our work things going on and it is really hard to find the time to practice or play together. Unfortunately we can’t dedicate enough time towards the band to make it work 100%. It’s a very hard decision though.
Yeah. That now sounds sad.
It is! It just does not work out anymore. We can’t really improve as a band when we don’t have enough time to dedicate towards it.
Understand. Makes sense unfortunately. So what’s going to happen then?
Maybe one day…(everybody laughs)….when we’ll be all ready again, we can come back :-)
I sure hope so! I’ll be the first to come to the come back tour ;-) However are there any individual plans right on the table already?
Mint: For me I will have to work here at my cafe. I also think about expanding it. That’s going to be a lot of work. So probably a bit less music and more ‘normal’ work.
Ploy: Well I just graduated and I have my music school. So I will do more work there. Furthermore I also learn how to handle our family business which is related to jewelry so that’s also a lot to do. However I will continue playing music of course. At events or things like that. So if anyone is interested, let me know :-)
Mint: Yeah same for me! :-)
Toey (singer): I will continue doing music. Either alone or with some other friends. Oh and I have to finish my bachelor degree.
Rest of the band (laughing): YEAH!
Well that sounds like it takes you a while already ;-)
Well yeah. A bit longer than expected.
Toey (guitarist): Just because of the band!!! ;-)
Alright let’s leave it with that ;-) What about the other plans?
Pakbung: I still study architecture what is very difficult so I will focus on that. Furthermore I am also playing the backup drums for another band so I will continue doing that.
Toey (Guitarist): I would really like to go to study abroad. However I’m not sure when and where. So I have to figure that out.
Ok. But glad you all have some plans more or less! One question that I always have to ask musicians: Do you buy music or download it “for free”?
Of course we buy it! Sometimes you listen to it online first to see if you like it but then you buy it! Of course!
Right answer! I also forgot to ask if you prefer singing in Thai or English. What do you like better?
English! Thai is just to hard to make it sound good.
So no Mor Lum or Luk Thung by Pretty Please?
Toey (guitarist): I like to play Mor Lum!
Toey (singer): Luk Thung is really hard to sing. Super difficult. So no, no Luk Thung.
Interesting. So if I ask you about the ONE song that you would like to perform in front of a huge audience, it wouldn’t be any of those songs. What song would it be though?
Our own song of course! :-)
Good answer to a stupid question. Thank you :-) Where would you love to perform though? What’s THE place or venue?
(Band jokes around): Something cool. Like the Opera House in Sydney! Or Glastonbury!
Actually we played at one of the biggest stages in Thailand. Big Mountain Music Festival. That’s cool! Festivals are great to play. Lots of people, great atmosphere.
Totally understand that. What was the best concert you have ever seen so far?
Toey (singer): I’ve been to a festival in Singapore not long ago and I saw Savages. An all girl band. That was really good.
Mint: I went to Japan once and I saw Sigur Rós what was really impressive.
Toey (guitarist): I’ve seen the Naked And Famous. I haven’t heard of them before and I just got into the concert and they played really well and just had an overall great performance. Not only music wise.
Pakbung: Mr. Big in Bangkok. I almost cried ;-)
Before we come to the end: Is there one song that you think is played tooooo much?
That’s easy. Definitely Glai Kae Nai Keu Glai by Getsunova. Everybody plays that all the time.
Toey (guitarist): When I played music at a restaurant people could request songs and this song would be requested every single time. (It’s still a nice song though).
Alright. Here we go now. Famous last words!
Being an artist is not easy. If it would be easy, everybody could be an artist. It’s really difficult so everybody should support artists. Buy music, go to concerts. Support artists!
That marks the end of our interview and I can’t thank all of you enough for taking the time to meet up in person and for a really cool time. I sincerely hope this was not the last time seeing either of you as well as all of you together.
If you want to check out more of Pretty Please, and I would be mad if you wouldn’t want to, please follow these links: